‘Significant Damage’ Reported As Storm Gerrit Moves Through Britain

A powerful storm bringing strong, gusty winds as it moves across Britain has left thousands of customers in Wales and England without power, delivered heavy rain and flood warnings, and disrupted train journeys ahead of the long New Year’s weekend.

A possible tornado damaged some homes in England’s greater Manchester area, at one point leaving more than 3,000 homes without power on Thursday, officials said.

Police and fire department officials in the Manchester area said they received numerous reports late Wednesday of “significant damage” to properties battered in what may have been a small-scale tornado. Firefighters worked through the night and early morning, officials said.

Officials in Tameside, England, a borough west of Manchester, said on Thursday that officers were clearing debris and fallen trees. Photos showed roofs blown off and a number of people were displaced from their homes. No injuries were reported, the police said in a statement.

While tornadoes are not unusual in Britain — about 30 are reported each year on average — they often land in sparsely populated areas or are short-lived and cause little to no damage, said Stephen Dixon, a spokesman for Britain’s Meteorological Office. Britain has experienced more big storms in the period beginning Sept. 1 through late December than in any other year since it started naming storms in 2015, he added.

The storm, named Gerrit by the Met Office, also caused destruction in other parts of Britain. More than 800 homes in Wales were without power on Thursday, according to the National Grid. Train cancellations and delays were also recorded.

More bad weather is expected across Britain in the coming days, with strong winds and heavy rains expected, as another area of low pressure moves in from the west, Mr. Dixon said.

“It’s been an unsettled period of weather for the U.K., but it’s not unheard of for us to see these kinds of winds and rain,” he added.

This year has been Britain’s hottest on record, with rising temperatures driven by climate change, according to the Met Office. December has been unusually mild and wet, but not record-breaking, with Britain receiving 20 percent more rain than average, and Northern England receiving 40 percent more than average.

The average temperature for Britain this month has been 1.6 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average, with temperatures averaging at about 42 degrees Fahrenheit.

The warmest day of the year occurred in September, the fifth time that happened in observational record, the Met Office said.

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